December 15, 2006

"I am an immigrant, I am a Muslim"

Earlier this month, two Bosnian artists Lejla Porovic and Alija Isanovic held an exhibition called "I am an immigrant, I am a Muslim" in Kista Shopping Mall, Stockholm. It was sponsored by the one and only anti-discrimination bureau in Sweden that has been established by Swedish Muslims.

Old man looking into a broken mirror in the video

In the middle of the shopping mall, you noticed a tv had been set up playing a film in black and white of different immigrant Muslims walking up to a broken mirror watching their distorted faces. Under the tv a thin film had been glued to the ground covered in black and white photographs of the very same immigrant Muslims.

To the right: Lejla and Alija discussing their work

I asked Lejla what the pictures on the ground signify;

-The feeling of being a newly arrived immigrant in a country is a bit like starting at the bottom, being stepped on, not noticed. And the video complements that feeling by showing how one looks in the mirror and not quite recognizing oneself anymore. The photos in black and white represent a feeling of nostalgia for our past. There are even coffee stains on them to give them that used feel.

First Pic: A visitor avoiding stepping on Alijah Isanovic
Second Pic: A visitor walking all over the whole foto display

The most interesting part was watching how the Mall visitor's reacted to the pictures on the ground. I found there were three types of people; the one that as he/she noticed the pictures, made every effort not to walk on the faces. The second type that would walk around the pictures. The third type that wasn't bothered at all and walked right over everyone.


Samawel said...

It seems really well done. Pity I couldn't get myself to the actual exhibition.

I missed my friends' exhibition recently, and I doubt I'll manage to see anymore films at the filmfest (only seen one so far)... I'll blame my upcoming finals.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Ahh that is too bad Samawel. Which movie did you manage to catch at the DIFF?

Good luck with the exams :)

Oh and a question; can you hear the music playing this time on my blog? I took away the stickam and put on windows mediaplayer instead since the former was blocked in the uae.

Samawel said...

A set of films put up in one slot, I keep making the mistake of calling them one film. It was the "Emerging Emiratis" which was pretty good.

Destitute Rebel said...

Great Post, must have been an enlighting exibition. I like how you categorized people into three categories. There are all kinds of people out there with different thinkings, there are always people who care and people who dont give a shit. Its the people who care that welcome immigrants as a source of knowledge for themselves, they open up and welcome new people with open arms, thats what makes a new home for a lot of people.

UmmZahra said...

Wow, the exhibition really speaks volumes. I can totally relate to the feeling of being "on the bottom" or beneath everyone as a Muslim/Immigrant.

Muslim Unity said...


I just found your blog. And it is amazing to see how all of us share so many things as humans. (You Gajjar Ka halwa entry made me find this place)
It would be great if we could all have world peace, by sharing things like Gajjar Ka Halwa filled in a Scania or Volvo.

Gajjar Ka Halwa is also loved by millions of Hindus and Muslims in India. A bit of Sharukh Khan or Salman Khan with it would make it still better for World Peace.


archer14 said...

Well shot and a beautiful layout. But why position them on the ground to gauge others opinions? An immigrant is always an immigrant, they will be stepped on, pushed and shoved except in the first world, and that scenario is changing too.

moryarti said...

great post ... can't imagine a bold statment like that made by GCC immigrants :)

Radha said...

Just came across ur blog, you've done a great job with it!

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Hello everyone! Thank you for your feed back. My internet is down and has been down a few days now so I don't know when I will resume blogging.

To all the new voices here, a big warm welcome to you all :) Radha, muslim unity in particular.

Take care everyone, see you soon:)

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Oh and Umm zahra as well, welcome :)